It looks like ‘screw the west’ is back in full swing – by Lorne Gunter (Toronto Sun – October 16, 2019)

It’s 1980 all over again. In the federal election that year (the election that returned Pierre Trudeau to power after Joe Clark’s brief national recess), the unofficial motto of the Liberal war room was “Screw the west, we’ll take the rest!”

Given the anti-Alberta, anti-oil rhetoric of the past week from Pierre’s son, Justin, it’s easy to imagine the current Liberals have decided to write off Alberta and most of the rest of the west (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the interior of B.C.) in favour of pandering to voters in Quebec, the Greater Toronto Area and Vancouver in hopes of clinging on to at least a minority.

Back in 1980, the Liberals adopted policies that deliberately targeted the western provinces and their emerging economic power because they knew such policies would be popular in the more heavily populated provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

And central Canada still contained enough seats to give Pierre Trudeau his third majority even if the four western provinces didn’t elect a single Grit. As it was, of the 77 seats in the West in 1980, just two went Liberal (both in Manitoba). The Conservatives won 49 and the NDP 26.

Trudeau 1.0 restored a Liberal majority even though he and his party willfully screwed the west. What followed was the National Energy Program that devastated the west’s economy for nearly a decade.

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